America’s 'recycled' plastic waste is clogging landfills, survey finds ... and only a tiny percentage took plates, cups, bags and trays. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times. This positive effect has stopped several fast-food chains offering plastic straws and started coming up with innovative ideas on how to stop using as much plastic. The United Nations on Tuesday, the World Environment Day, warned that every year more than 400 million tons of plastic waste is produced in the world, of which only 9 percent is recycled. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. With no changes to current production, consumption, or waste management of plastic, by 2040 almost 30 million metric tons of plastic will end up in the ocean per year. How much plastic is produced in the world each year? read more Of that, only nine percent has been recycle d. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. The report shows a total of 2,260,000 tonnes of plastic packaging was used in 2017, with just 46%, or 1,044,363 tonnes, recycled. Recycling rates of municipal waste, packaging waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment — which represent significant sources of secondary materials and critical raw materials — are increasing in Europe, indicating a move towards using waste as a resource and a more circular economy. However, the overall recycling rate for plastic bottles was 28.9 percent compared with 29.3 percent in 2017 and 29.7 percent in 2016. Plastic waste treatment in Europe. Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill. 2 plastic (HDPE). EARTHDAY.ORG believes we must address the harmful effects of plastics in our environment and move beyond recycling and into a comprehensive approach to reducing plastic pollution. MRF operators say they’re working with manufacturers to design packaging that can be recycled within the capabilities of the current system. Currently, blue bins are for aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, and No. 7. Just by recycling one ton of plastic, you can save 5,774 Kwh of energy. Glass and metal can be recycled indefinitely; paper can be recycled five to seven times before it’s too degraded to be made into “new” paper; plastic can only be recycled once or twice—and usually not into a food container—since the polymers break down in the recycling … By the Yard makes over 400 products built to last for generations. It only takes 5 recycled plastic bottles to make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket. In fact, the idea that plastics are refashioned into new products is largely a myth, Sharon Lerner writes in The Intercept. … Twelve percent (800 million metric tons) has been incinerated and nine percent (600 million metric tons… In 2018/2019, the UK recycled 43.5% of all waste, more than twice as much as the target (22.5%). Recycled polyester: the pros. The world consistently produces around 300 million tons of plastic each year. Waste. For plastic packaging (water bottles, chip bags, supermarket packaging, etc.) 1 plastic (PET) and No. Only about 25% of the plastic produced in the U.S. is recycled. He says he developed a process that purifies the plastic at the molecular level to produce clear, odorless, nontoxic pellets that can be used to make a 100% recycled bottle. In all that time, less than 10 percent … Just 11 percent of facilities can recycle plastic cups; 4 percent plastic bags; and just 1 percent can process plastic plates, cutlery, straws, and stirrers. All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. Some 30% of all the generated plastic waste is collected for recycling and recycling rates by country vary a lot, as shown in the infographic. Of the 5800 million tonnes of primary plastic no longer in use, only 9 percent has been recycled since 1950. How much energy is saved by recycling plastic? 30 113% increase by 2040 In Europe, energy recovery is the most used way to dispose of plastic waste, followed by landfill. 5. Which sectors produce the most plastic? 8. The plastic would have been worth £27m if it had been recycled. By weight plastics contribute seven percent, and less than one percent of plastic waste is currently recycled. The five-year compounded annual growth rate for plastic bottle recycling declined 0.4 percentage points. Nigeria generates an estimated 32 million tons of solid waste per year, one of the highest amounts in Africa. Reports show that in 2015, approximately 6,300 metric tons of plastic waste was generated, of which around 9 percent had been recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent was accumulated in landfills or discarded in the natural environment. That means we save more than 190 billion Kwh of energy with the plastic we currently recycle. In 2018, 2.9 billion pounds of plastic bottles were collected for recycling, according to the report. End Plastic Pollution Putting plastic pollution in its place. Contributing to the problem is the fact that not all plastics are recyclable or reusable. Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as it takes to burn it. Current volume estimates for plastic waste range from 14 to 21 percent of the waste stream. One reason so much plastic packaging ends up in incinerators, landfills and oceans is that it isn’t designed to be recycled. A large portion of our plastic is sent straight to landfill — often due to the way plastic creeps into so much packaging. Plastic makes up about eight percent of total solid waste in India, according to the government. Last year, 52 percent of all recyclables were placed in Honolulu’s blue bins, while 48 percent were put into the gray bins, which are designed for materials sent to the landfill. Just 14 percent of them can process what are known as plastic clamshells, containers commonly used for takeout food, fruit, and baked goods. “This survey confirms what many news reports have indicated since China restricted plastic waste … Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink. Since 1950, cumulative plastic waste has amassed to 6.3 billion metric tons. 6. And, for 25 years in Jordan, they've been making outdoor furniture from recycled plastic lumber. Nearly all types of plastics can be recycled, however the extent to which they are recycled depends upon technical, economic and logistic factors. For the past 15 years, the worldwide EPS industry managed to recycle an average of 19 percent of post-consumer and 25 percent of post-industrial EPS. the recycling rate is just 14 percent. Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year. Motor oil never wears out, it just gets dirty – and it can be recycled. Of that figure, plastic constitutes 2.5 million tons. Plastic use by sector To which industries and product uses is primary plastic production allocated? The U.S. recycling rate is around 34.5%. Keeping plastics from going to landfill and the ocean - Recycled polyester gives a second life to a material that’s not biodegradable and would otherwise end up in landfill or the ocean. 7. Single-use plates and utensils labeled “biodegradable" must be a sustainable alternative, right? Sixty-six percent of discarded paper and cardboard was recycled, 27 percent of glass, and 8 percent of plastics were recycled. New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents last year, a 33 percent increase from 2013. 1. But much of that plastic inflow is excluded during the sorting and recycling process, such that only 5 percent of plastic packaging material is actually returned to use through recycling. The increasing volumes and percentages of EPS recycling are astonishing considering the fact that 95-98 percent of EPS is air. Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials. As a valuable and finite resource, the optimum recovery route for most plastic items at the ‘end-of-life’ is to be recycled, preferably back into a product that can then be recycled again and again and so on. But much of that plastic isn’t recycled at all. 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